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Packing for Vacation

We are going on a short trip next week to the Mississippi Gulf Coast for a few days at the Margaritaville Resort.  We decided against a big beach trip this year because the thought of taking three toddlers anywhere near big waves and undercurrents makes me exhausted.  Maybe next year.

Taking a family of five anywhere is a lot.  It does not matter if the trip is 10 days or 2 days I basically have to pack the same amount of stuff.  While I love traveling the packing and the unpacking is a big job and it is one that I take on alone.  But I am also very controlling about this kind of stuff so it’s not like I’m begging anyone for help.  Although I did call my trusty helper MK over for the morning on Thursday so she can help me pack all the things.

Over the years I have developed some helpful hints for packing.

  1. Mentally prepare.  Before I ever start packing I start thinking about where we are going, what things we will be doing and what I actually need.  It helps me make essential cuts before I take anything out of the closet.  I have found that if I take it out of the closet and put it in my pile to pack it’s going to get packed regardless if I need it or not.  Mentally preparing for our trip is half the battle for me.
  2. Lay it out.  This is especially essential for me when I am packing for the boys.  When I lay it all out I can plan when and where they will be wearing things and it again gives me the ability to make necessary edits to my packing.
  3. Pack in outfits.  This was a mistake I made early on when traveling with multiple kids.  I would put everything into the suitcase like shirts and pants and so on.  Well on a short trip I wasn’t unpacking the bags and we were living out of the suitcase.  So I ended up with a huge mess by day two.  Now I pack in outfits down to underwear and socks.  Each night I take out the whole roll and lay them out.  The Big boys can dress themselves and a lot of times they help the baby too.  It’s like a fun little game for them.
  4. You only need one set of pajamas…  trust me.  Ok, so I know some people are going to be like, y’all are gross, but I only pack one pair of pajamas for each person when we travel.  This is why.  When you are going to the beach you are showering nightly because of the sand and chlorine.  If you are going somewhere like the mountains and hiking again you are showering each night.  Thus you are clean when going to bed so your pjs are clean.  If we are going on an extended trip than we will likely do laundry while we are there so I will wash the pjs.  Trust me on this…  you only need one pair.  Same goes for bathing suits…  except for me… I’m bringing three.
  5. What are you packing in.  When we go on a road trip and are staying more than three nights I pack in tubs.  Like the Rubbermaid ones.  They stack together so make for more efficient packing in the car and they also are easy to put on a luggage cart and get to your room.  This was something worth investing money into and I have used them for several years in a row.  If we are going on a short trip I try to fit everything into two suitcases.  I also make sure that I can tether the two suitcases together.  Usually one of us is hauling bags and the other is hauling kids so this definitely makes the job easier.
  6. Do you really need it?  So this is really for the additional items that you want to bring.  Do you really need the stroller?  The case of water?  All the food that you were planning on bringing?  Pack n play? Most places you are going have stores so you can grab things you need like water and food.  Look into rentals.  Some hotels have cribs to rent or strollers too.  Think about what you can leave behind.
  7. Most things you leave you can buy when you get there.  Just to reiterate.  You can buy it when you get there.  Diapers.  Wipes.  Food.  Drinks.  Water.  Sunscreen.  Etc.  sometimes it’s better to leave it behind and make one trip to a store when you arrive.

My Packing Lists:

My List:

  • Clothes – 1 outfit for each day, bathing suit and cover up, 1 additional outfit
  • Shoes – 1 pair for nights and 1 pair of flip flops
  • Makeup (Just basics.  I’m not perfecting my contour on vacay) and other essential toiletries
  • Shampoo, conditioner and body wash
  • Brush
  • Extra contacts and glasses
  • Medicine

Big Daddy’s List:

  • Clothes – 1 outfit for each day, bathing suit and a few extra tshirts, 1 additional outfit
  • Shoes – 1 pair for night and 1 pair of flip flops
  • Toiletries
  • Extra contacts and glasses

Kids List:

  • Clothes – 2 outfits for each day, 1 bathing suit each and a few tanks to wear to the pool.
  • Shoes – 1 pair for nights and 1 pair of flip flops
  • Toothbrushes
  • Paxton’s shampoo, bodywash and lotion

Additional Items:

  • Thermometer and tylenol
  • Snacks and water
  • Beach bag (all my normal things like goggles and sunscreen and so on) and beach towels if needed
  • Noise Machine
  • Essential Oils
  • Phone chargers and ipads
  • Kids toys – they can each choose one thing to bring.
  • Apple TV – This was a tip from my friend Amanda.  If you have a tv and wifi you won’t be sorry you brought this
  • Pool Toys like a bucket and kick board
  • Travel steamer

Hope that this makes packing just a little easier the next time you are going out of town!



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